Monday, May 16, 2011

newly elected Chair for the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania: Lou Jesikoff's first letter

My name is Lou Jasikoff and am your newly elected Chair for the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. I would appreciate you taking time to read this letter as I believe it is important to you as a Libertarian and for our future in Pennsylvania as citizens and for our Party.

I would like to thank Mik Robertson for all the work he has done with LPPa as Chair for over four years now. Having been a former Chair myself for two years in New Jersey, I understand first-hand the enormous amount of personal time and resources it consumes. Mik has been a friend and always helpful to me in the past, and I will rely on his knowledge and expertise in many areas as I move forward to build on his successes.

We, as Libertarians, are presented with enormous opportunities, not only this year but for years to come, to make the LPPa a force to be reckoned with in the politics of Pennsylvania. Never before have we heard the word “Libertarian” used as much in the media and press. It was not so long ago when I told people I was a Libertarian, they would look at me and say, “Huh? Liberal, librarian, what is a Libertarian?” Today Libertarians are in vogue, it is ‘chic’ to be a Libertarian. And so it should be. No other party talks of limited government, personal responsibility, and individual rights like Libertarians do. Tell me what other party understands the true meaning of “property rights?” I, for one, am damned proud to be a Libertarian and hope you feel the same. Collectively we can make a real difference, and collectively we will, but it takes us all to make it happen.

So for those who don’t know me, or little of my background, let me fill you in on what you are getting. I have a degree from Fordham University in Accounting and have been pretty much self employed most of my life. Started and built a small restaurant and motel in Montana, where we raised our family for over 20 years. Returned back east in the 90’s and after a successful but brief stint in the corporate world once again went the private business route and built a nice transportation company with 50 employees, in Totowa, NJ. In 1994 went to my first Libertarian meeting, (almost my last, but that is a different story for another day). In 1995 was asked to put my name on the ballot as a paper candidate for NJ State representative and in 2006 was asked to run for Congress as the Libertarian candidate.

Can you imagine that? Was I excited! I was going to run for Congress and have the full backing of the Libertarian Party behind me! Life was great! It was later that year I realized we needed to be better organized and looked for ways to make that happen. After the election, I was nominated for Chair of the New Jersey Libertarian Party and promised myself to give it everything I had to help build that organization. I believe most feel I did that. We marched across the state in support of medical marijuana, found a way to have an office right on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, qualified for the “clean and fair” election program in New Jersey (yes, an oxymoron), ran candidates and partnered with Jim Babb and the LPPa for first combined convention NJ ever had. We were active and people knew who we were. And that was years ago, when people never heard of Libertarians and had a biased NJ media that once told me there is no room at the table for you Libertarians (but quite honestly it is New Jersey you know, must we say more?). The opportunities here in Pennsylvania and in this current political atmosphere are one hundred-fold with what we had to work with in NJ.

More recently, I served as Eastern-Vice Chair for LPPa and Chair for the Northeast Pennsylvania Libertarian Party. A little over a year ago I got together with longtime activists Betsy Summers and Brian Bergman to form the NEPA Libertarians Group. What a great group we have here and growing! Tim Mullen ran as a Libertarian in a very competitive three way race for State Rep in the 120th District. Although finishing third, it was the second highest vote total a Libertarian received in a three way race this past year in the United States. But more importantly, all these NEPA candidates are running again this year. They are known, well-liked and we are in the media all the time. This same enthusiasm and success are what we will bring to you and your groups throughout Pennsylvania.

So what is the call for action, what can you do to help make us as an organization be successful? Since this is the first letter you are receiving from me, let’s keep it simple. Visit our website and join, or re-join the LPPa if you are not a current member. Many receiving this letter have either expired memberships or just dropped out. Expect a welcome call from me shortly. I promise you this: I will give it my all and hope you do the same to ensure our success. Contact me anytime with the good, bad and the ugly. If you would like me to come to your Libertarian organization and help build your local membership, let me know and I will show up. If you have things you would like to implement to get your groups moving, let me know. Our goal is to assist and help, not put up roadblocks. Your ideas are important, so let me know what you are thinking. The only thing holding us back is ourselves. The future is ours and the future is now. Help us make the Libertarian Party one to be feared and relevant in the politics of Pennsylvania. The state and country needs us now more than ever to be heard.

Lou Jasikoff
Chair, Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania

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